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Valuing Common Assets for Public Revenue in Vermont Prepared for Blue Ribbon Tax Commission December 8, 2009 Gary Flomenhoft, UVM.

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Presentation on theme: "Valuing Common Assets for Public Revenue in Vermont Prepared for Blue Ribbon Tax Commission December 8, 2009 Gary Flomenhoft, UVM."— Presentation transcript:

1 Valuing Common Assets for Public Revenue in Vermont Prepared for Blue Ribbon Tax Commission December 8, 2009 Gary Flomenhoft, UVM

2 COMMON ASSETS DEFINITIONS COMMONS: Things produced by Nature, government, or society as a whole that we all share such as air, water, roads, parks, libraries, music, etc. COMMON ASSETS: Parts of the commons with market value Such as spectrum, minerals, water, land, internet, forests, wildlife, seigniorage. Often privatized.

3 Alaska Model: Alaska Permanent Fund 12-15% Royalties 2008 $ $ $1200!


5 Question 1 (80% Royalties)


7 Vermont Resources-Sovereign wealth? No oil No natural gas No coal No precious metals No gemstones Not much sun A little wind

8 Vermont Resources Cows Maple Syrup

9 Privatized Common Assets VT is an Economic Colony-Banana Republic Minerals-Omya-Swiss Hydropower-Transcanada Groundwater-out of state bottlers Surfacewater-82% by Entergy-Texas Spectrum-giveaway to media Corps. New Order-claiming sovereignty of resources Ecuador, Bolivia, nationalization of banks


11 WHAT IS ECONOMIC RENT? COST OF OIL (economic rent in green) After Interest Wages Profits Remainder is Rent= Value of the Resource

12 Total Co2 Emissions in Vermont Sept Auction price: 3.07 x 8.44 = $25.9 million Dec Auction price: 3.38 x 8.44= $28.52 million

13 Fish and Wildlife Rent

14 Potential Revenue Collection Possibilities Increase the Fish and Wildlife Trust Fund -Currently: a little over $1.6 million, generating $139,000 in interest (usable funds) in FY06 {interest rate of about 8.4%} If increased to $12 million, over $1 million would be generated annually…an increase of total revenue of about 6.8% -investment will pay off in about 10 years

15 Potential Revenue Collection Possibilities (continued) 1/8 of 1 Cent of sales tax: This Bill needs to be passed - Redirection of tax dollars- will add $6-7 million to current total revenue, increasing total revenue by almost 50% - Fish and Wildlife related activities generate about $386 million annually - Allocate a portion to the Fish and Wildlife Trust Fund

16 Potential Revenue Collection Possibilities (continued) Increase boat registration fees. Currently $22 for motorboats <16 feet long* times 33,901 boats registered annually = $745,822 Increase to $35 = $1,186,535 (very conservative estimate)* *Larger boats reg. fees are more expensive, so increasing those fees will increase the revenue even more

17 Potential Revenue Collection Possibilities (continued) Biodiversity and Land Conservation Fund -Permit system for potentially developed lands -Increases price for developers to develop, especially on land that holds high habitat value -Reduce rural development…increase viable habitats and other ecosystem services -Funds go to Fish and Wildlife Trust Fund

18 Forests Public Revenue vs. Private Revenue Public- State Forests $3.2 million State Parks $6.58 million Fish and Wildlife $180,486 (logging) Current Use Program $17 million Private- Forest-based manufacturing $207.4 million Recreation/tourism $485 million Forestry and logging $32 million Paper and Pulp $50 million

19 Current Use Program Withdrawal Penalty 20% appraised value < ten years enrolled 10% appraised value > ten years enrolled Amount saved often outweighs the penalty. Large parcel owners may take advantage of the program through subdivision $489,540 in penalties $39 million in savings!

20 Revenue Generating Suggestions Leave public lands alone Current Use withdrawal penalty Depletion of Ecosystem Services (DES) tax Estimated $3.2 million Impose auction and insurance bond regulation Vermont Public Land Bank Sale price of the property being converted -- Original purchase price (adjusted to inflation) Current Use Exit Penalty

21 Public Trust Resource-2009 Held by the people in their character as sovereign in trust for public uses for which they are adapted

22 Ground Water in Vermont: Current Revenue: $0 Vermont has no structure in place to glean economic rent for this asset, so it goes without saying that Vermonts rent payment on groundwater equals zero at the present time.

23 Source: H2O for Maine


25 VT Permits >50K gallons Nestle (19) San Pellegrino Icelandic Spring Realty Absopure Advanced H20 (2) Premium Roaring Spring Ice River

26 Gasoline and Water Comparison ItemCostRent (royalty) 15% Gasoline= $2.79/gallon Oil $78.11/barrel =$1.86/gallon # $.27 Water(Dasani) $1.79/liter = $6.78/gallon*$1.02 (0) # 1 barrel = 42 gallons *1 gallon [US, liquid] = liter

27 Future Economic Rent Revenue: BottlerGallons/year Pristine Springs of Vermont 4,813,425/yr Vermont Natural Water970,000/yr Clear Source Springs- Bottling 28,233,905 TOTAL34,017,330=104.3 ACRE/FEET $1.3M/ACRE-FOOT $135.7 Million x 70% = $107.9 Million

28 Future Economic Rent Revenue: BottlerGallons/year Pristine Springs of Vermont 4,813,425/yr Vermont Natural Water970,000/yr Clear Source Springs- Bottling 28,233,905 TOTAL34,017,330=104.3 ACRE/FEET $1.3M/ACRE-FOOT $135.7 Million x 70% = $107.9 Million

29 Internet Current Management Structure Internet Service Providers –Public –Private Domain Name Registration –ICANN –VeriSign

30 Current Revenue Internet Service Providers (~$70M) –Individual Households –Businesses Domain Name Registration (related services) (~$130M) –Hosting –IT Design & Development –etc.

31 Internet Rent Potential SourceRevenueRent > 7% of profit Public telecoms $18.5 M profit$17 Million ISPs$38.7M $6M profit $3.3 M Domain names $130 M $18.4 profit $9.3M TOTAL~$30 MILLION

32 Land Rent Current Management Current State Property Taxes are set at ~1.05%, with municipalities adding additional rates. –This ratio is based on a lumping of land & building values Money collected goes towards the state education fund Additional taxes are assessed for buying, selling, and patterns of current use –Current Use Tax, Property Gains Tax, Property Transfer Tax

33 Current Revenue Current Use Penalties –$489,540 Speculative Gains Penalties –$5,646, Property Transfer Tax –$38,315, State Property Tax –$696,371,326 Total Revenue –$740,822,540

34 Proposed Revenue Median home prices in Vermont have seen a steady rise of 5% between 1980 and 2000 –A state land tax of 5% would capture most if not all of this rent, collecting $1.07 trillion, an amount comparable to the entire state budget Median home prices between 2000 and 2007 rose from $5.4 billion to $21.4 billion a 21% increase each year Revenue neutrality is often an important selling point in the implementation of a single tax on land –A tax rate of 3.457% applied to the $21.42 billion in assessed land values would capture what the 4 combined taxes currently do.

35 Changes to Management Structure A single tax on land values could effectively capture the same amount of revenue as the 4 major property taxes already do. This shift could have the effect of curbing sprawl while providing more affordable housing by removing disincentives to provide such housing.

36 Who Owns Vermont s Rocks: A case for collecting economic rent to offset the depletion of nonrenewable mineral deposits Current Management Structure Act 250- Environmental Protection Permitting Process- Great for environmental concerns but does not address depletion of these non renewable resources nor any type of financial monitoring Property Rights Majority of mining occurs on privately owned property held by several mining corporations. They do as the please as long as the pass Act 250 regulations. There is no distinction between surface rights and subsurface rights. State Revenue- The only revenue is from property tax. List land values do not take into account the value of subsurface mining deposits or the value of what is extracted That s it- There is very little management structure compared to other natural resources in the state

37 Vermont Mining Revenue 2005 Production/Extraction Value96,800,000 Direct Mining Earnings63,000,000 Listed Property Value132,228,257 Property Taxes ( includes state tax of 1% and, average municipal tax of 1.79%) 3,678,990 Property taxes is just on listed property value If we add in extraction value into annual land assessment then in 2005 the state received only 1.6% in property tax Is this 1.6% enough to offset the depletion of these non renewable resources? What happens when they are gone? Loss of jobs, currently 2,600. Mining companies leave a wasteland of abandoned mines – who pays the clean up? Indirect side effects? Tourism, depletion of habitat, Vermont loses a natural resource

38 Time to make changes National Mining Act of being changed to a royalty system – meant to pay for billions of environmental clean up – estimated at 35 billion Alaska Permanent Fund- money generated from the depletion of oil reserves put into trust fund to offset the impact and benefit current and future citizens of Alaska Other state and countries- are catching on to common ownership- we live in a different world – resources are limited Lets start a Vermont Permanent Fund!- if we collected 10% of the extraction value in 2005, Vermont would have $9.68 million to be put in trust fund to offset the depletion of non-renewable mineral resources and to help pay for environmental management. Bottom line - as mineral reserves get lower mining companies revenue rises because Vermont s management is outdated Vermont needs to rethink how it manages its non-renewable resources. When they re gone they re gone Citizens of Vermont have a birthright to these natural resources Legislation needs to reclaim subsurface property rights on behalf of the citizens of Vermont

39 Spectrum It is the purpose of this Act, among other things, to maintain the control of the United States over all the channels of interstate and foreign radio transmissions; and to provide for the use of such channels, but not the ownership thereof, by persons for limited periods of time, under licenses granted by federal authority, and no such license shall be construed to create any right, beyond the terms, conditions, and periods of the license. -The Communication Act of 1934

40 Allocation Value –Mobile Communication : Billion –Broadcasting : 79.9 Billion –Fixed Communication : 1.66 Billion Total: $ Billion Annual use value Potential

41 Commons Management Per Capita Value of Spectrum : $ –In Vermont (x629,908) : $ million/yr –*40% economic rent = $250 million/yr Spectrum Trust Management –Annual Auction –Market Determines Price –Renewable Licensing *Gaffney, Losses of Nations, 1996

42 93% (roughly 445 million gallons per day) = private profit Current Revenue: Public Supply: $ 35,000,000 Wastewater Permits: $ 1,692,350 Hydroelectric: $ 164,775,527 Thermoelectric: $ 316,000,000 Recreation: $ 109,096,309 Total: $ 626,564,186

43 Thermoelectric Withdrawals

44 Rent Hydro:10% of revenue ($164,775,527) $ 16,477,553 Local hydro subsidy: $ 6,000,000 Vermont Yankee 10% profit: $ 19,680,000 Public Consumption 5% (over 40,000): $ 639,000 Other uses: $.05/1,000 gallon (24 million gallons/day) = $438,000 Total surface water rent: $ 43,234,553

45 Current Public Revenues Property Taxes: –Determined by municipality, no standard calculation $153,995 to Searsburg in 2001, PPM offered $240,000 for proposed expansion Sheffield will pay $520,000 annually to mitigation fund, ppty taxes H.520, Sec. 5402c: Fee based on production –$ in fiscal year 2009 –$ in fiscal year 2010 –$0.003 in fiscal year 2011 and thereafter

46 Potential Public Revenue Capture economic rent on resource use Different fiscal structures could be used –Economic analysis by energy economist would be needed to determine which would work best –Would need to not discourage production of wind energy –Instead of taxing production (which is a cost), take portion of economic rent (not a cost) Revenue could go into a fund –Fund management would need to be discussed

47 Proposed Wind Guidelines Progressive Profit Tax Percent of royalties taken increases as profits increase Fiscal Structure should take into account age of facility: New and older facilities have smaller percentage, those in their prime have highest percent

48 Estimates for Discussion 2002 Study*: VT could produce 10% of electric energy from 6 wind-farms,with about MW wind turbines = 225MW total Vermont Net generation: 7,084,344MWH/year (EIA) x 10% = 708,434.4MWH/yr =708,434,400 KWH/yr Check: 225,000 kW x 24hrs/day x 365 days=1,971,000,000 KWH/yr x.35 (capacity factor) = 689,850,000kwh/yr X * 5.6 cents per kWh est. cost * = $38,631,600 Assume 6.6 cents per kwh* selling price** x 689,850,000kwh/yr = $45,530,100 - $38,631,600 = $6,898, Assume 10.6 cents per kwh* selling price** x 689,850,000kwh/yr = $73,124,100 - $38,631,600 = $34,492,500 Assume 30.6 cents per kwh* selling price** x 689,850,000kwh/yr = $211,094,100 - $38,631,600 = $172,462,500

49 VT TRUST-US financial Speculation Current Trading Projected Tax Rate Revenue (Annual Rates) Volume AfterTax Volume (both sides) Stocks $11 trillion $7.3 trillion 0.5% $36.5 billion Government Bonds $41.6 trillion $27.7 trillion 0.1% $27.7 billion Corporate Bonds $22.1 trillion $14.7 trillion 0.1% $14.7 billion Futures Contracts $100 trillion $66.7 trillion 0.02% $13.3 billion Currency $200 trillion $133.3 trillion 0.1% $33.3 billion (worldwide) (U.S. share = 25%) Swaps $22 trillion $14.7 trillion 0.02% $2.9 billion Options Not available NA 0.01% NA Total US Revenue(.25% RATE)$128.4 billion x.21% Vermont Revenue $268,891,964 Source: Taxing Financial Speculation: Shifting the Tax Burden From Wages to Wagers by Dean Baker. February Ctre for Economic & Policy Research

50 International Exchange Goods and Services $30 Trillion/yr Buying and selling of paper $1.5-2 Trillion/day =$ T/year 95% speculation in paper!


52 2004 VT MONEY CREATION VT BANKS (LOANS-2004) $3,574,450,000 1% RATE$35,744,500




56 Cutting Wasteful & Environmentally Harmful Spending Subsidy Reform

57 Green Scissors 2004 Delaware River project-$175 million Market access program-$550million Section 29 (drilling credit)-$2.8 billion SUV tax credit-$1.26 billion Timber road subsidies-$170 million 1 Gallon of gasoline-$3-$15 in subsidies

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